Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina airs his sentiments on the bloody Mamasapano clash before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Wednesday, February 4. Espina called on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters to surrender the firearms taken from the 44 fallen policemen. (MNS photo)

Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina airs his sentiments on the bloody Mamasapano clash before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Wednesday, February 4. Espina called on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters to surrender the firearms taken from the 44 fallen policemen. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos did not die in vain.

Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina declared this on Monday after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officially confirmed the SAF had killed Malaysian terrorist and bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“As I’ve said mission accomplished,” Espina said.

“Marwan is confirmed to be the one taken down by the SAF. My people did not die in vain. One international terrorist down to keep you all safe,” the official said in a chance interview in Camp Crame.

Marwan, who had a $5-million reward on his head, was the target of “Operation Exodus” that led to the death of 44 policemen, 17 Moro fighters and five civilians. The botched raid triggered public outrage against President Benigno Aquino III, whom they blamed for mishandling the operation.

Espina, after the FBI confirmed Marwan’s death last Thursday, issued a statement declaring that one of the US agency’s most wanted terrorists was dead.

He said the FBI’s findings “effectively dismissed any and all doubts” that hounded the incident over the identity of the bomb-making expert and terror group Jemaah Islamiyah member.

“Based on this new evidence provided by modern science, there is no doubt that the PNP-SAF indeed got their man, as they always do,” Espina said.

He added, “This fact should add to the glory and honor of the 44 brave young men who offered the supreme sacrifice to get the job done.” (MNS)